owlmoose: (ffx2 - crimson squad)
I've seen a lot of commentary about the difficulties of going home for the holidays in these divided political times -- people stressing out about the prospect of political arguments, coming up with strategies for dealing with the bigoted uncle, and so forth. Although I have my own family stresses, I count myself very lucky that politics is not one of them. (At least not among my mother's family. My dad's family, and T's family, are another story, but they aren't local -- when I talk about getting together with family, I generally mean my parents and brothers, and my mom's siblings and their kids). We fall at various points along the liberal spectrum, but at the core we have similar enough beliefs and values that when we argue politics, we're debating the details, not more fundamental questions like whether racism exists. As I mentioned at one point, it was a relief to be able to assume that no one at tonight's dinner voted for Trump (I do have one brother who's a Bernie Bro, and I expect he voted Green Party; we steered clear of that particular topic, which is fine since he lives in California where his presidential vote was essentially irrelevant) or supports his policies and beliefs. Not to say there weren't debates or arguments -- we're a big loud family who likes to talk about controversial topics, so of course there were points of disagreement -- but because they came from a place of fundamental agreement and respect, we're able to have actual conversations that rarely end in hurt feelings. It might be one of the ways I am most fortunate in my family of origin, and this year of all years, I don't take it for granted.
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
Spent the day with family up in Santa Rosa, starting with a visit to my parents' place to exchange gifts with them and hang out a little, and then we went over to my uncle's to eat. We made the mashed potatoes, from a new recipe, and they came out quite well. My younger brother, who moved back to California this year, joined us for dinner, so this the first Christmas that my nuclear family has celebrated together in something like eight years. A happy occasion to be sure.

I received three books and a Barnes & Noble gift card (which I will turn into a book), meaning that every single gift I got was a book. It's like they know me or something.

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates, and Happy Friday to everyone. :)
owlmoose: (tea - tea cup)
1. My trip to Nashville concluded with relative success. Various potential family dramas were sidestepped thanks to everyone being on good behavior (if not always their best), and I got to spend time with my brother and my nephew, neither of whom I see nearly often enough. I may be seeing much more of my brother soon, which is good news although not under good circumstances.

2. I was on a podcast! [personal profile] renay invited me to come share my thoughts and feelings about Avengers: Age of Ultron on [tumblr.com profile] fangirlhappyhour. It came out today and can be found here, or on the podcast provider of your choice. I recommend you check it out not just today, but in general, for [personal profile] renay and [twitter.com profile] booksmugglers's biweekly conversations on all things fannish, which are always a great time.

3. More travel coming down the pike! My 20 year college reunion is only two weeks away, and I'm getting excited about that. Then, in June, a friend is having a bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas, which was supposed to be a long weekend but then I found out that T was being awarded a Mediterranean cruise by his employer. Okay, that's not a thing that happens in real life, is it? Except apparently, it does. So I'll come home on Sunday instead, and then on Monday we fly to Nice. I have to admit that I have a hard time believing that this is something that's actually going to take place. I might not fully accept it until I get off a plane in France. More about all this later, I am sure.

4. I'm still trying to decide whether to go to Baycon next weekend. I've never been, and I actually can go this weekend (often I'm out of town or have other conflicts), and Seanan McGuire is Guest of Honor, and there are many interesting things on the schedule, so that's all really exciting. On the other hand, I have something happening literally every weekend this month, and June is shaping up to be super busy as well, so it might be nice to have a few days off. Still contemplating.
owlmoose: (otter)
In Nashville for my brother's college graduation. It's sort of a weird time because he's also (very) recently (and somewhat suddenly, from my perspective) divorced, and also lost his job not too long ago, so lots of personal changes all at once. My parents are also here, and his relationship with them is a little bit strained, so I anticipate a weekend of much family wrangling and negotiating.

Still, I am very proud of him for finishing his college degree, especially in the midst of so much personal upheaval. I hope he's proud, too.
owlmoose: (Default)
For as long as it takes me to eat lunch, anyway. I'll probably get myself some more substantial online time tomorrow.

So, hello! The packing has gone really well -- so well, in fact, that we're almost finished and now have very little to do besides wait for the movers to arrive on Thursday. If anyone within reasonable driving distance of north San Diego county wants to get together, let me know.

The new-to-me car is in great shape. I expect we will have many adventures together.

Now that I'm here with all the world of the Internets in front of me, I find I don't have much to say. How are all of you?
owlmoose: (hp - monsters)
Tomorrow afternoon, I'm leaving for a week in San Diego to help T's sister, W, pack up their mom's house. This trip has been planned for awhile, since before T's mom went through a bad patch a couple of weeks ago. So there was some thought that we might have to cancel, but now things are stable and we're still on -- my SiL arrived in California yesterday.

We don't have to clean out the house completely -- this is just a first pass, to move some of the furniture and other things to Virginia, where my MiL moved in with W a little over a year ago. Still, it's going to be a fair amount of work. On the plus side, I'm getting a car out of it; T's mom had two cars, only one went with her to Virginia, and this way we don't have to figure out how to sell it. On the downside, I'm going to be in a house with no Internet access for a week. I'll have my phone, and I'll check in from there as I can, and I might escape to a cafe a time or two, but for the most part I'll be offline. So we'll see how that goes. If you need me, email or IM is probably the best bet.

This will probably not be the worst trip ever, but I don't expect it to be the most fun, either. So good thoughts and (phone internet) viewable distractions will almost certainly be welcome!


Dec. 29th, 2013 02:15 pm
owlmoose: (cats - teacup)
Last full day in DC. We had a quiet Christmas day. Then we went out the next three days, visiting the Pentagon Memorial (mostly because the architect was a classmate of mine at Bryn Mawr), the Library of Congress (at last!), the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum (which is the home of the Space Shuttle Discovery), and Eastern Market in Capitol Hill.

Today was brunch and now football -- my sister-in-law's boyfriend is a big Packers fan, and they have a shot at the playoffs, so no way he is going to miss this game. So we are all in the TV room, hanging out by the fireplace and the Christmas tree, the early games on TV, nice and cozy against the rain outside. It's been a good visit. But I'm definitely glad to be getting home tomorrow.
owlmoose: (tea - it's good for you)
As usual, we had a family dinner at my uncle's place in Sacramento. I made an apple crisp, which was well-received. There was turkey and potatoes and rolls and two kinds of stuffing. No pumpkin pie, alas, which I will have to rectify at some point this weekend. I get along reasonably well with my family, so visits are not usually too stress-inducing.

Also, I discovered that my brother D is a brony, which on reflection ought not to be too surprising -- he's really into a lot of other animated shows, so it makes sense that My Little Pony would be in the mix. I'm more amused by it than anything, and also by the utter confusion of the elder generation that adult men have flocked in droves to a cartoon targeted at elementary school girls.

I hope that all of you are having an excellent holiday, or simply a fine Thursday, wherever you may be.
owlmoose: (stonehenge)
We returned from our annual Christmas trip to San Diego today. It was a pretty good visit -- uneventful flights there and back, a quiet Christmas at home with curry chicken and Scrabble and pie, then took a drive up to Orange County the next day for the big holiday dinner with all the aunts and uncles and cousins. It was a good trip, although not without its stresses. Minor family drama under the cut. )

I'm not getting together with my parents until mid-January, so we get this weekend free of family obligations. On the agenda: relaxing, more Mass Effect, and a fondue party on New Year's Eve for which I'm coordinating the food. Should be fun.

I hope everyone who celebrates had a great holiday, and I wish you all the happiest of New Years!
owlmoose: (cookies)
Today was the first of two Thanksgiving dinners, with family -- tomorrow will be with friends -- and it went well. One thing I am thankful for is that my family tends to be fairly low drama, on the family drama scale, so I rarely have to worry about arguments or family politics or walking away from a gathering carrying more frustration than I brought.

A couple of people have asked about the "wrong chocolate" that I mentioned in my last post. T was making chocolate friands, which are small fudge-like chocolate cakes, very dense, very rich, and frosted with ganache. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, but we accidentally bought semisweet, which has a lower cocoa content. As a result, the cakes didn't bake up quite right -- the consistency was more like a slightly overcooked brownie, and we lost several because they stuck to the pan -- and the ganache didn't set at room temperature. They were still tasty, and my family was happy to eat them, but they weren't up to T's high standards. So tomorrow we will get the appropriate chocolate and see if the second batch comes together better. Pictures, perhaps, if we succeed. :)
owlmoose: A bright blue butterfly (butterfly)
Sorry to have been so absent lately. The daily life spam has, I fear, well and truly moved to Tumblr these days, so if you are for some reason interested in my more mundane doings, that is the place to be. [tumblr.com profile] lifeofkj But I want to update more here, too, with things besides fic crossposting. I need a better plan.

I had a very fun birthday dinner yesterday, complete with excellent friends, tasty food, and a fake birthday cake with sparklers. Very dramatic! Today, my actual birthday, was much quieter: a fairly ordinary day at work, and then I came home and played Dragon Age for most of the evening, with a brief pause for grocery shopping and dinner. I consider my celebration to have been yesterday, so I'm not too fussed about not doing anything on the day itself. I'm going up to see my parents on Saturday, which should be nice. We did have a bit of a family health scare, but it looks like everyone is going to be all right, so I'll take that as a birthday gift of sorts, too.

Also, Nay found me a Hanklerfished copy of "The Fault in Our Stars", which was pretty darned exciting to get! :D

So, 39. I keep telling myself I'm not so freaked out by this, to see "the big four-oh" coming down the pike. I stressed out when 30 was impending, but by the time it arrived, it was no big deal. Let's hope that this next milestone is the same.
owlmoose: (california - freeway)
It was a pretty good trip. Relatively laid back. The flights were uneventful. Spent Christmas Day at the San Diego Zoo, where we experienced perfect weather and saw a panda bear eating lunch. Monday was T's big family holiday dinner, and we spent yesterday pretty much lounging around his mom's house.

I took the opportunity of the downtime to read, which is something I haven't done much of these last few months. Finished The Kingdom of Gods, the last book in N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy, which was excellent, the best of the series I thought, and then I tore through books two and three of The Hunger Games, about which I have far more complicated and mixed feelings and will probably write another post about on another day. I also poked some at fic and spent entirely too much time on Tumblr. Now I have two more days off, plus New Year's weekend; I suspect next Monday is going to come as something as a shock.

Good, as always, to be home!


Nov. 23rd, 2011 09:59 am
owlmoose: (tea - it's good for you)
The coffee is fresh, the Panera is warm and smells like cinnamon, I got my favorite table, and I have lots of ideas for the continuation of the crossover fic percolating in my brain. A good start to the last day of a short work-week.

This holiday is going to be really busy, but I also hope really fun. Thursday is Thanksgiving with family in Sacramento. Then a second Thanksgiving on Friday with friends, which has started happening more often over the last couple of years, and I love it. We're making desserts for both -- I plan to pick up ingredients for apple crisp at the Farmer's Market today (assuming I'm not too late...) and then T is going to whip up a Fromage Blanc Bavarian for Friday. (One large cake, not many little cakes like in that picture.) Then Saturday is a small Moose Day (observed) celebration, and on Sunday, I collapse.

Oh November. Usually a busy month, but this time it has just been non-stop, from the opening bell. Let's hope that at least the opening weeks of December are a little quieter...
owlmoose: A photo of a Highway 1 roadsign, with the California Coast in the background (california - sign)
Visiting T's mom in San Diego. Earlier today, T installed a wireless router, so I am Internet-enabled on my own computer, which is pretty awesome. Makes a nice change from past visits, where I was stuck on either my phone or her Windows box. Also, can I just wax poetic for a minute about how much easier it is to travel with my new Air than when I was lugging my old MacBook around? It's just not even worth comparing them.

On the downside, I have a cold and therefore zero energy. Stupid cold, ruining my getaway weekend. Although I suppose at least it provides me a good excuse to keep things low key.
owlmoose: (Default)
Not ganked from anyone this year; I just felt like doing it.

Take the first line from the first post of each month, and that's your Year in Review.*

January: Drove up north today to have lunch and exchange gifts with my parents and brother.

February: I regret to report that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, thereby predicting six more weeks of winter.

March: Days written: 21/28 (ick)

April: Clearly, I underestimated the havoc that Final Fantasy XIII was going to wreak on my writing schedule.

May: Sigourney Weaver says that Avatar lost to The Hurt Locker because the Academy wanted to give the award to a woman.

June: Regarding my flight east, I got into JFK Airport at 4am. We will say nothing more about that.

July: It's the final day of my second four-day weekend in a row. I just can't tell you how happy I was to be able to arrange this.

August: Thanks largely to the 30 Days of Writing project, not only did I catch up on the [livejournal.com profile] getyourwordsout pace, I'm now ahead by over a thousand words.

September: A little song and dance from Captain Picard...

October: Yay Giants!!!

November: So I am totally cheating here and choosing my own topic to kick off daily posting in November -- I'll get started on other people's topics tomorrow, promise -- because THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS JUST WON THE FREAKING WORLD SERIES.

December: My brother is out from Nashville for a few days, family in tow.

Opening and closing with family, lots of writing in between, and a two-month interruption by the baseball post-season. Yeah, that's a pretty fair representation of my 2010.

*I skipped a few writing goals posts, to get a little variety in the comments. Otherwise half of these would have started with "Days Written:..."

Family time

Dec. 1st, 2010 10:03 pm
owlmoose: (cats - tori sun)
My brother is out from Nashville for a few days, family in tow. They arrived late last night, and I spent most of today with him, his wife, and their son, who is five. I hadn't seen my nephew, H, since their last visit to California in 2006. A lot changed in four years. The difference between Age One and Age Five is astronomical, especially in term of how well I'm able to relate to him. I knew that intellectually, of course, but that's not quite the same as seeing the age gap in action.

He's a great kid: sharp, friendly, talkative, curious. We went to the Exploratorium for a couple of hours this afternoon (and I had forgotten that the first Wednesday of every month is free admission, so that was a bonus), and it was really fun to watch him running around, turning every lever and poking every button, getting engrossed in learning neat stuff. We had real conversations, and we told each other jokes, and when he hugged me goodbye he seemed to mean it. Spending an afternoon with him finally makes me feel like a real aunt.

One thing is for sure: I'm not waiting another four years to see him again. I think a trip to Nashville is likely on the docket for 2011.
owlmoose: (stonehenge)
[personal profile] lassarina asked about my experiences playing Tabletop (or what I think of as "pencil-and-dice") RPGs.

I have long enjoyed playing RPGs. My introduction to the genre came from [livejournal.com profile] oswulf, who was a big fan and had all kinds of systems; D&D, Gurps, and Star Frontiers are the ones I remember offhand. Starting from our pre-teen years, we would play whenever we could, which was unfortunately not on a regular enough basis to get a long campaign going. But it was still always fun, and led to, among other things, a life-long running gag regarding the dangers of chairs.

The first time I ever got involved in a regular campaign was during my college years -- not while I was away at school, but when I came home for breaks. D and S, the guys I was sort-of dating during much of that time (yes, at the same time; yes, they both knew about it; yes, it's a long story that's only tangentially related, and maybe I will tell it sometime, but not today) were both big gamers, and D invited me to join a long-running Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign that he'd been running since high school, and I gladly accepted, taking on an Elf ranger-type fighter who hated humans and didn't much care for other races, either. That campaign led to many others; some of the more memorable were a couple of Star Wars games (one in which I played a hotshot Imperial pilot who defected after Yavin, and another in which I was the daughter of a spaceship manufacturer who went into business for herself shipping X-Wings to the Rebellion -- she is officially my favorite player character ever), a few rounds of Call of Cthulu (to the GM's consternation, I decided to play a woman famous for writing books about organic gardening, which is not your usual Cthulu mythos character), a Teenagers from Outer Space campaign that sadly ran for only a few sessions but featured some of the most fun I've ever had gaming (I played a goth girl who drove a black VW Thing with the best stereo system in the known universe), and a one-night D&D one shot where I ended up getting myself and most of the rest of my party killed in the gladiator ring. I've also dabbled in Mage (the character I created for that game is one I've thought about resurrecting for a story some day), Champions, and Shadowrun.

After graduation, I moved away from that group of friends, and I've never been in a position to game regularly since. A couple of years ago, I was invited to play in a short campaign run by Jed, in a system he created himself, and that was one of my best gaming experiences ever; it was more like participating in an interactive story, which when well-done is something I love. I like a GM who can think on their feet and allow the players some freedom while still guiding them down the intended path.

I've done a couple of one-shot live-action RPGs also, run by my friend E, and they were a blast. I would definitely be up for doing something like that again. One thing I've never done is acted as GM myself, and I'm perfectly fine with that -- I think I'm much happier as a player, along for the ride.

Would I play regularly again if the opportunity presented itself? Probably, although making time for regular gaming sessions is tough, as we discovered during Jed's short-term game. That's the main reason I haven't sought out a gaming group -- time. That said, if another short-term gaming opportunity comes up, you can be sure that I'll jump on it.

Finally, no discussion of RPGs would be complete for me without a mention of dice. I love dice. I love how they look, I love the feel of them in my hand, I love the sound they make when they're rolled. There's something so tactile about them, unlike any other fidget toy. I have many more sets than I reasonably could need, just because I think they're awesome.

30 Days of... Project! Complete list of questions / Ask a question on LJ or on DW.

In other news, I didn't quite finish the story. Almost; I could probably post it as is, but really it needs at least one more editing run to be presentable. Fortunately (?), Yuletide signups have AO3 running so slowly that we decided to extend the deadline by a week to save everyone the frustration of trying to upload, so I have a bit of a reprieve (and so do the rest of you!). Fingers crossed, it will be ready in the next couple of days.


Sep. 26th, 2010 05:18 pm
owlmoose: (cats - tori sun)
Today is our sixth wedding anniversary. We don't have anything planned, really, although we did go out for a tasty Japanese lunch. For a year that's not a milestone, maybe it's best to keep it simple anyway. (Although really, isn't every year a milestone?)

Six years of marriage, almost twelve years together. There have been up days and down, but overall I wouldn't trade them, or T, for anything.
owlmoose: a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded by fog (golden gate bridge)
Ganked from several: Ask me my Top Fives: Fandom, personal, or pointlessly random. And I will answer them all in a new post.

Also, I've started working on my [community profile] megaflare_ff story again after taking a couple of weeks off. It's going okay, if more slowly than I'd like. Right now I'm having fun coming up with Al-Cid's family members and writing them all playing off each other. I realized the other day that my main inspiration for their personalities and politicking appears to be the royal family of Amber. Whether this is a brilliant idea or a disaster waiting to happen remains to be seen...

While I'm on the subject, don't forget that artist sign-ups for [community profile] megaflare_ff are still open for a couple more weeks. If you've been waffling, come join us; if you have friends who might be interested, let them know!

Finally, tomorrow we're heading down south to visit T's mom tomorrow. Usually we go twice a year -- once during the summer, once for Christmas. Not taking the computer with me this time; I will have my phone, but the latest version of Safari for the iPhone doesn't play nicely with the journaling site interfaces, so I expect I won't be around much until we're back on Sunday night.

Is it wrong that the main attraction for me right now is the promise of 80-degree temperatures? :P I am so ready for this San Francisco "summer" to be over.
owlmoose: a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, shrouded by fog (golden gate bridge)
It's the final day of my second four-day weekend in a row. I just can't tell you how happy I was to be able to arrange this. Today is my official work holiday, but since T got Friday off I took an extra vacation day, and it's been more than worth it.

Friday: By Air )

Saturday: By Sea )

Sunday: By Land )

Unless you go a fair bit out of the way (sometimes in bad traffic it's actually faster to go the long way around, but we almost never do), a drive from San Francisco to Santa Rosa necessitates a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, which means that I've been over it easily hundreds of times. And that's how an amazing national landmark becomes commonplace. So I sometimes like to take a step back and admire it, look at it the way a tourist might (or a photographer). It's such a beautiful and dramatic piece of architecture, even more so than its cousin across the way, and I try not to take it for granted.

So now the long weekend draws to a close with a day where I have not much at all planned, which given how busy the rest of the days have been is probably a good thing.

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